Files brings basic user space file management to Windows Phone 8.1

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Teased by Microsoft last month, an official Windows Phone 8.1 file manager utility has now been released, see the links below, joining the handful of third party applications. Such a utility is only really needed on phones with a microSD slot, but it's an essential piece of furniture in any smartphone operating system and so it's good to see this now fully available.

From the Windows Phone team:

We all encounter a number of files in our daily lives across the various devices we use. And often times we need ways to manage these files and share them with others – even on our phones. We’ve heard your feedback loud and clear that managing files needs to be easier to do on your Windows Phone and Joe Belfiore announced earlier this month during a Reddit AMA that we would address your feedback with an official file manager app.

Today, we are releasing that app. It’s called Files and it makes it easy and intuitive to manage your files on your device running Windows Phone 8.1. You can download it free from the Windows Phone Store here.

01-Files-Home 03-Files-Documents-Select 04-Files-MoveTo

The Files app allows you to access all the files stored on your phone. If your phone supports expandable memory with an SD card, like the Lumia 1520, you can use the Files app to access files on the SD card as well. You can browse through files and folders, open and search for files that are on the phone or on SD card storage. You can create new folders and arrange your files across those folders using move and copy functions and you can also rename and delete your files. And you also have the ability to share one or many files on your phone with your friends, family or work colleagues.

Microsoft is looking for feedback on Files, suggesting you use its UserVoice, plus you can, obviously, leave a comment below.

Files is a fairly basic tool and doesn't make that much sense on devices with integral storage only (e.g. Lumia 920, 1020), since it's more useful to manage content items in their appropriate applications. However, as the quote above mentions, Files will come into its own when your device has a microSD card too, enabling detailed management of 'what goes where', plus the tidying up of a card that has come in from another phone on another mobile platform.

Note that I used the term 'user space' in the headline. This is because access to the file system in internal storage is heavily sandboxed, of course - you wouldn't want a user poking around in the full file system, with OS files and configurations! This is the way things have been for the last decade, and for good reason.

I noticed that few file types have much in the way of thumbnails as yet, and would assume that there are updates on the way. It's great to have an official tool available, and out before the formal release of 8.1, mind you. 

Note that there are third party file managers, including Aerize Explorer and Pocket File Manager, both of which have extra features - it's still early days, but I'll be doing a round up of file management options in the near future.

In the meantime, you can download Files here in the Store if you're currently running Windows Phone 8.1.  

Source / Credit: Windows Dev Team